Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here

Article

Small Island

Posted on

Small Island

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Andrea Levy
publisher:
Picador USA
genre:
Fiction

We gave it an A

Andrea Levy’s beautifully wrought novel is a window into 1948 England, specifically the doings in a down-and-out London boardinghouse. When Queenie Bligh’s husband doesn’t return from the front, she begins to rent out rooms in their home for the cash, first to a Jamaican Royal Air Force man, Gilbert, and then to some of his friends, much to the consternation of her neighbors. Then Gilbert’s wife, Hortense, newly arrived from Jamaica, Queenie’s long-lost husband, and a brand-new baby are added to the mix, and this quiet, often painful tale of immigration and discrimination really begins to thrum. Levy demarcates class lines effortlessly — sparing postwar England nothing of its racism — as she weaves a bristling, funny, angry tale of love and sacrifice.